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Martinez stays ahead in money race

SANTA FE – Republican Gov. Susana Martinez raised nearly $875,000 for her re-election campaign in the past month, more than twice as much as Democrat challenger Gary King.

According to campaign finance reports filed Thursday, King has collected $320,665 since late May.

Of King’s total receipts, $200,000 came from a loan by the candidate a few days after he won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and prepared to start airing television advertising to counter an ad blitz by a national GOP group.

The latest fundraising reports cover fundraising from May 28 to June 28.

Martinez raised $874,752 and spent $860,054, with two-thirds of that to produce and air TV and radio ads.

The governor had cash on hand of $4.3 million in her re-election account as of last week.

King had a cash balance of $116,018.

His campaign spent $280,165, with $200,000 for ads that started on TV not quite a week after the June 3 primary election.

King had to start his general election campaign quickly to counter hard-hitting TV ads against him by the Republican Governors Association, which spent about $571,000 on its advertising barrage.

King has been outspent almost 6-to-1 on advertising by Martinez and the national GOP group.

Thursday was the deadline for candidates and political committees to file campaign finance reports with the Secretary of State’s Office for the most recent reporting period.

Among the top contributors to Martinez were Texas real estate investor and developer Marcus Hiles and his wife, Nancy. Each gave $10,400 – the maximum amount under state law.

Also giving $10,400 were the Republican National Committee and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

King also received $10,400 each from Ed and Trudy Healy of Taos in late June, but there’s a dispute over whether that exceeded the state’s contribution limits.

King campaign manager Keith Breitbach said the contributions were permissible because $5,200 from each went for retirement of King’s debt from the primary election.

But that’s not allowed under state law, according to Ken Ortiz, chief of staff for Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who administers election laws.

Individuals and political action committees can give up to $5,200 per election to a statewide candidate – a total of $10,400 for the primary and general elections. But Ortiz said a candidate couldn’t accept $5,200 for the primary after the election occurred.

New Mexico’s primary was June 3, and the contributions from the Taos couple were dated June 25. The contributions that totaled $10,400 to Martinez were dated June 3.

There are no limits on how much personal money candidates can spend on their campaigns. King has lent his campaign about $540,000, including about $340,000 for the primary election.